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Politics Today: Will Obama ever address climate change? (and what about Keystone?)

U.S. President Barack Obama addresses a news conference at the White House in Washington, Jan. 14, 2013.

JONATHAN ERNST/REUTERS

Politics Today is your daily guide to some of the stories we're watching in Ottawa and across Canada, by The Globe and Mail's team of political reporters.

Will Obama address climate change?

U.S. President Barack Obama largely ignored climate change in his first term, but will this term be any different? That's the question weighing on Mr. Obama's long-delayed decision about the Keystone XL pipeline. An approval or block would send a clear signal about the President's second-term agenda. Environmentalists strongly oppose the pipeline, saying it will spur on too much Alberta oil sands development, while supporters say it's great for North American energy independence.

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(For what it's worth, Politico suggests there are no climate-change plans in the works. Meanwhile, financial disclosures show climate hawk John Kerry, U.S. secretary-of-state-in-waiting, has investments in some pro-Keystone Canadian energy firms.

The Atleo dilemma

Unhappy that National Chief Shawn Atleo met last week with Prime Minister Stephen Harper, the Assembly of First Nations executive is figuring out how to remove him. The executive insist they're looking into the legalities of holding a no-confidence vote, and may not actually hold one. But it's a clear sign of the battling factions with the AFN. (Update: the AFN now says they didn't get around to discussing this topic yet, which was scheduled to be brought up yesterday.)

Mr. Atleo is currently taking time off to recover from a nasty bout of flu.

Fairbairn's last day

After 28 years, today is officially Joyce Fairbairn's last day in the Red Chamber. The Liberal senator, 73, appointed by Pierre Trudeau, announced her resignation last year after it was revealed she had Alzheimer's disease. Ms. Fairbairn is from Alberta, the only province that holds elections to the Senate. The results of last year's vote are technically nonbinding, but Prime Minister Stephen Harper is likely to appoint Doug Black, who won, to fill the new vacancy.

The Flaherty letter

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And the letter from Jim Flaherty to the CRTC – stumping on behalf of a local radio station – that we wrote about yesterday has spurred the federal ethics commissioner to take a look. Update: The ethics commissioner was not happy.

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About the Author
Assistant editor, Ottawa

Chris Hannay is assistant editor in The Globe's Ottawa bureau and author of the daily Politics newsletter. Previously, he was The Globe and Mail's digital politics editor, community editor for news and sports (working with social media and digital engagement) and a homepage editor. More

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